Graphics by shiroiusagi, art from Valve
To start off 2013, we'll be getting to know one of our Dota 2 players each week. To start off, we're speaking with Korok, native Virginian, steak aficionado, and aggressive carry par excellence!
Hey! Let's start with the introductions, please introduce yourself for those who might not know your work!
Liquid`Korok: Hi everyone! I’m Steven and I love playing Dota 2. I prefer being very active and aggressive in game but it doesn’t reflect in my personality outside of the game.
Korok: I’d say it’s going well. I’m currently studying and playing Dota on the side, although at times it seems the other way around.
How long have you played Dota? For those who don't know your history, tell us about your past exploits.
Korok: I’ve been playing Dota on and off for under a decade. I played the game very casually until a few years ago. I had a few online titles but my largest achievement in Dota 1 was placing 4th place at ESWC 2010 while subbing for Nirvana.int. After that, I tried out HoN and became a top player fairly quickly. During the Spring, I was invited to play with It’s GoSu and I decided to come back to Dota 2.
So last month, we announced that you'd be joining Team Liquid as part of the new Dota 2 team! Tell us generally about the team.
Korok: The ‘shiny’ effect still hasn’t worn out for me. I’m very excited for where this team will go. TC, BuLba, and I play the more farm dependent roles while Fluff and Mike create space for us to make stuff happen. Besides BuLba, it’s my first time playing on a team with these guys. Fluff is a very straight forward guy who isn’t afraid to say what’s on his mind. TC is a little more timid and ixmike is in his own world.
Previously you played on Quantic, while BuLba played on EG and the rest played on compLexity. How did you join up with these guys?
Korok: After Quantic dissolved, I was teamless and was unsure of where I wanted to go. Bumblebee messaged me about forming a team with some of the guys from coL with BuLba. After a few weeks of talking and experimenting with some preliminary scrims, I saw a lot of potential in the team and showed interest in moving forward with his plan. We eventually discussed our team vision with him and Nazgul.
How much did you know about TL before joining? What are your thoughts on what the team represents?
Korok: My first RTS that I didn’t just watch my brothers play was Warcraft III (I am the youngest of three). I had a very faint idea of what TL was until the SC2 beta. I am still amazed by the reputation TL has and am actually quite nervous because of the standard that I’ll be held up to while representing them in Dota 2. I think TL has strong values in professionalism, manners, and top level play. The players in TL are highly loyal to the team and from my limited experience the management is exceptional in accommodating any needs.
You play in the team's first or second slot as a carry. How did you start playing this role? What attracts you to it?
Korok: In the past I’ve bounced between utility, solo-mid, and carry/semi-carry. I became rooted in the carry/semi-carry role when I started playing Dota 2 and then eventually got moved more towards a permanent carry role with Quantic. Honestly, I prefer playing heroes of a certain playstyle vs. heroes that require farm. For example, I’d much prefer to play storm spirit or queen of pain vs. faceless void, but I do what is needed to win.
How would you characterize your playstyle?
Korok: I’d say it’s very aggressive, efficient, and independent. I try to get involved into as many fights as possible. I prefer heroes that require some early farm and then can just snowball from there. Later on in the game, I try to abuse my hero’s potential and try to score solo kills without getting caught. FLUFF and ixmike refer to this as ‘korok-ing’.
How does your outlook on the game differ from other players because of your position?
Korok: I look at the game based upon what limitations are put on me in fights. I know that I’m often on a key hero to my team’s damage output or control, so I realize that the enemy will take whatever jump on me they can. Because of this, I try to be hyperaware of my positioning and the cool downs of certain lockdown spells on the other team. During the picking phase, I generally have a good idea of how the game will go and consequent clashes assuming both teams play at the expected level. Whenever I play a secondary carry, initiator, or utility hero I always try to create as much space for the main damage dealer and create clear pathways for them.
What's the most important thing that you're focusing on in game?
Korok: Without a doubt, it would have to be my movement post-early game. Anything that I can do to disrupt the enemy team’s strategy by adding an unexpected death here or there goes a long way. If I can cause the opposing team to get out of their comfort zone, the pressure falls off of my team. I try to exploit any small openings given to me and try to snowball from there, whether it’s a hero kill into a roshan attempt or forcing a defensive response through my aggression.
Korok: The jack of all trades: Morphling.
It’s a little saddening that most of the tricks you could do with it are no longer possible with all the nerfs it received.
Least favorite hero?
Korok: It comes very close between Warlock and Treant Protector (Editor's Note: T_T) … but Warlock gets the cake. I feel like there is only one dimension to these heroes.
Hero you'd play more often if you had a different position in the line-up?
Korok: Wisp. I’m not very good with him but it meshes extremely well with how I play, albeit on the supporting side.
What's one moment/story in your career that you remember really well?
Korok: I was playing Templar Assassin at ESWC 2010 vs. DTS. I had the legendary EHOME squad sitting behind me watching my every move. The pressure was definitely on and I remember at one point I backed out of a fight which I should have committed to and got myself and Puppey killed by LightOfHeaven because of it. They all sighed and said something along the lines of “why’d you back” in Mandarin.
What's your familiarity with Starcraft: Broodwar and Sc2?
Korok: I am not familiar with Broodwar. Beyond watching highlights and vods of championship games, I didn’t have an understanding of the scene. I loved watching my favorite players show off incredible micro tricks. I played SC2 during the beta and reached Platinum/Diamond (forgot which was the highest) then made it into top of my masters division when it became available. After season one I stopped playing SC2 to focus on other things but I actively watched every tournament and followed the scene more than I did with any A-RTS.
Favorite player on Liquid's Sc2 team? My guess: you're most similar to (and thus a fan of) TaeJa
Korok: lol I wish
My favorite player has got to be HerO. One of my good friends plays toss and he always loves to whine and complain about how broken the game is. I remember linking him to tournament streams where HerO was playing live and he’d just say “That’s HerO… it’s not the same because he’s playing”.
How do you think Dota 2 is different from BW and Sc2?
Korok: Obviously the biggest difference between Dota 2 and BW/SC2 is the team size. Individual skill and mechanics are less important whilst the typical team-based skills take a greater role such as good communication, synergy, and strategy. The game can be decided in the drafting phase and team play will ultimately triumph over anything. At the top level, many of the players are around the same skill level and even though it is possible to make a distinction between who is better than another, the game result will come down to which team can function better as a unit.
How are they similar?
Korok: With all that being said, you can often see certain players shine because of their advanced mechanical skills. It is incredibly easy to spot a great player from a pool of good players because of their advanced mastery of the game. Knowing when to engage, when to back, etc. as well as optimizing and capitalizing off of every mistake the enemy makes.
Why should Sc2 fans give Dota 2 a chance?
Korok: The game is incredibly addicting and watching a perfectly executed team fight gives me the same nerd chills as watching perfect marine splitting or insane dropship micro.
What's one thing that people don't know about someone on the team that you'd like to share?
Korok: FLUFF is a dictator in game-- a mean, ruthless dictator with an Asian-fro. He’s pretty awesome though and it isn’t indicative of his personality outside of the game at all.
Have you considered growing a mustache?
Korok: I can’t steal Mike’s thunder, and I don’t think I look good with a mustache anyway. Personally, I haven’t tried it but I’m making the assumption.
Ready for the lightning round? Where are you from?
Korok: Richmond, VA. I lived in Hong Kong for four years when I was a child.
What hobbies do you have besides Dota?
Korok: Weightlifting, motorcycles, fishing, cooking, computers, programming, and anything technology related. When I get more free time I want to mess around with the piano again so I can play my favorite songs.
Korok: The Art of War and Ender’s Game
Favorite other video game?
Korok: I barely last over an hour with other video games before I get bored. I really like playing Natural Selection 2 as of late but as far as favorite goes probably one of the Zelda titles. My username comes from Wind Waker.
Ideal last meal?
Korok: Steak cooked medium-rare with a twice-baked potato and mushrooms in a wine sauce. If I wasn’t by myself, probably some greasy Tex-Mex food at the local place near my house with my high school friends.
Food you wouldn't eat if you were starving to death in the desert?
Korok: Bean paste desserts. I think they’re nasty.
What's one profession you'd love to do, and one you'd hate to do.
Korok: I’d love to be able to work for a company such as Valve or Google.
I’d hate working in service. After waiting tables and dealing with self-entitled customers for four years I can safely say I’d much rather prefer a monotonous office job over that.
Whew! Alright, that's all I've got. Shoutouts?
Korok: Shoutouts to Twitch, shinythings, Razer, Barracuda Networks, and all of my fans for the continued support. A special shoutout to the eSports club at GMU and to my twitter: @LiquidKorok